Workplace Wellness Programs: The Legal Issues (December 2017)

Does your company offer a workplace wellness program?  Many businesses do as a way to promote employee health, reducing absences and health care costs and boosting employee morale and productivity. Workplace wellness programs can encompass a wide variety of offerings, including smoking cessation programs, lunchtime walking groups or meditation classes. They may also include rewards for getting a health screening, losing weight,

lowering blood pressure or managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or asthma.  

Because workplace wellness programs may ask employees to provide health information or to perform certain tasks, they risk running afoul of laws protecting the equal treatment and privacy of employees with disabilities and genetic conditions. As such, workplace wellness plans must be carefully designed, including close consideration of each potentially relevant statute.